Bauer cracks down on taxis, car spaces. Bauer Media has been cutting down on costs since it arrived in Australia (through its purchase of the Packer magazine empire), but staff are fuming at another indignity after the company cracked down on their use of cabs last month. In an email to staff sent last month and obtained by Crikey, Bauer’s financial controller advised that Bauer will no longer use the Cabcharge ticket system, which allows staff to automatically bill the company for their usage to and from work events. Instead, staff have to claim any work-related cab uses after the fact through reimbursement, and will have to seek advance permission from their “approving manager” to catch a cab.

Staff have also been warned about trying to claim back taxi fares or parking fees when they currently have a designated car park. “If you receive an allowance for car/parking then this allowance is to cover all your transportation required for your employment duties so no taxis, tolls, parking or km may be claimed,” the email states.

This isn’t clear from the email, but a Bauer staffer told Crikey he’d been told that the practical effect of this crackdown is that only one expense can be claimed per pay cycle, which is tricky for staff attending multiple events quite close to each other. We’ve also heard grumblings that the new policy is regressive, because department heads and executives get corporate credit cards they can use to pay for cabs, while the regular grunts have to dip into their own pockets and hope for reimbursement.

Meanwhile, the company is still negotiating an EBA with its staff. The old one expired some time ago … — Myriam Robin

ABCs at Fairfax. New directives have been issued to reporters and subeditors at Fairfax about the newish CQ print and online publishing system. Reporters were bemused to receive the following, well, rather elementary directions about uploading their stories:

“Check and tick first occurrence of every name in copy — subs will check for consistency of spelling with ticked version. Company titles, dates, phone numbers, suburbs, regions must be supplied correctly — these will not be routinely checked by sub-editors.”

Meanwhile here are the directions for subeditors:

“Ensure a story reads well and that spelling and grammar are correct. Story should be thoroughly subbed for online publishing and later cut judiciously to fit the print shape. Be alert for any legal issues. Check a fact if something ‘feels’ wrong or if a name ticked by the reporter seems incorrect.”

The CQ system hasn’t been without its teething problems. Crikey understands reporters have been receiving a constant stream of emails about it not working in one way or another. When it was first rolled out, it would publish stories online before the embargo on them lifted, causing headaches for the reporters who wrote the stories and were thus perceived to be breaching the embargo. — Myriam Robin

No such thing as bad publicity … Yesterday, yours truly mused on whether the only happy ending from The Bachelor was for broadcaster Channel Ten, after that network enjoyed a boost of coverage for something other than its ratings and financial performance. But how much coverage did the Sam/Blake split really get? Our friends at iSentia sent through this comparison of coverage for the 2013 season, which ended with a happy couple, and the 2014 season, when the couple broke up before the finale (the 2013 figures take into account coverage from the premiere to a week after the finale, while the 2014 figures are from premiere to yesterday).

Media monitor iSentia’s figures show the 2014 season, the second in Australia, did get more coverage than the 2013. But not by as much as you’d expect. That’s partly because the print media was clearly obsessed with the first season, giving it 2362 mentions over its airing. It took a scandal to get broadcast media interested, though — this season was a hit on television and radio, where it nearly doubled mentions on 2013. The 2014 season was also more popular in online media, but not by much. — Myriam Robin

… but publicity won’t boost your shares. The shenanigans surrounding the final of The Bachelor had the wrong impact on the struggling network’s share price yesterday — the shares fell to a new all-time low of 20.5 cents, before ending lower on 22 cents. At one stage yesterday, the shares were down more than 5%, before they struggled back to close down 2.2%.

That means the shares have fallen more than 8% in the past three trading days, and 12% since the start of last week. This is despite the network’s ratings rising with the success of the final episode of The Bachelor, and all the contrived publicity that followed, culminating in the 1.537 million national audience for Monday night’s tacky interview sequences. Investors though are not focusing on that news, but on the approaching annual results — due within the next fortnight. They are expected to be terrible with more red ink.

Not even a series of orchestrated leaks about takeover advisers and the like to The Australian Financial Review in recent weeks have been able to stop the slide in the share price. In some respects, Ten is like Blake the Bachelor, friendless in the market, a bit of an odd bod, with no underlying or overt reasons to like him or the shares. — Glenn Dyer

How a plastic sword became a beheading plot. Remember that sword that shocked a nation seized during the terror raids some time back? Well, it was plastic, and ceremonial. Fairfax’s Rachel Olding visited the home of Mustafa Dirani, a 21-year-old detained in last month’s terror raids. He told her the sword was “actually a plastic decoration common in almost every Shiite Muslim household”. Despite this, the sword was seized and carried out in a transparent bag by police. This led to a flurry of media conjecture:

“In the wake of the raids, it was widely reported that AFP officers had confiscated a sword for forensic testing, with some stories picturing the ceremonial sword sealed inside a federal police evidence bag. In the context of an alleged plot to ‘behead’ a random victim, ordered by one of the most senior Australians serving with Islamic State forces, Mohammad Ali Baryalei, the sword appeared to be a weapon. The Daily Mail Australia linked it directly to the beheading plot under the headline: ‘Was this the lethal sword terror cell planned to use to behead an innocent victim on a Sydney street?’ The Daily Telegraph set the beheading plot claim beside the discovery of the sword. Many articles by Fairfax Media described the sword as large and curved with a gold handle and engraved with Arabic writing. Police did not explain to the media at the time that the sword was plastic. In the article ‘Sword taken from duplex’, News Corp’s Courier-Mail directly linked the object with the threat of beheadings.”

On News front covers. The Courier-Mail was widely criticised yesterday for the way it depicted murder victim Mayang Prasetyo. Under the headline “Monster chef and the she male”, accompanied by an image of Prasetyo in a bikini, the paper told the sorry tale of the woman, reported to be an Indonesian transgender prostitute, who was murdered by her partner, a Brisbane chef.

Today, the paper apologised, sort of, for its coverage. On page 7, below a picture of Prasetyo and the headline “Victim’s memory should be remembered”, the paper stated:

Meanwhile, the Press Council has ruled in favour of The Daily Telegraph about a May 27 front page image it published of murdered student Jamie Gao’s corpse floating in a tarpaulin. In the image, his foot peaked out from the tarpaulin, which the council considered “could have caused great offence to a significant number of people, including those who merely saw it on the newsstand”. However, the Tele argued that its front page exposed the dangers of getting involved in drug deals, a subject of substantial importance to the public interest. The Press Council agreed, though it did remark that the photo was on the front page and very large. But the image didn’t beach its standards, it concluded. The adjudication is carried on page 2 of the paper this morning. — Myriam Robin

Front page of the day. Jennifer Lawrence speaks to Vanity Fair about having her photos hacked …

Peter Fray

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